gerund or present participle: provisioning
– to supply with food, drink, or equipment, especially for a journey
I had done my part in provisioning for our trip. I started with an internet search specifically for lists and recipes that would be easy to prepare on a sailboat (rocking to and fro, limited space, only so much propane to cook with…etc). I was happy to find many resources. Using many ideas from seasoned cruisers, I then decided to add some simplicity and creativity to the menu with some original recipes and menu items. I created two spreadsheets from many lists ….one for the menu, the other for ALL the ingredients. It was quite extensive, but necessary. On our previous trip down the coast of Florida, we had left a bit of coffee and probably salt and pepper aboard..that’s all! So that meant we needed EVERYTHING.
Actually, I never thought I would get so detailed about food , but it happened. Because, when you need curry for the chicken recipe, or soy sauce, sushi rice or nori for the (hopeful) sushi, you can’t just drop by the market to fulfill your needs, we needed it aboard or we go without. I also included on the menu a few things that we would prepare at home, freeze and have available for easy meal preparation underway. These included a marinated chicken, smoked ribs, and grilled turkey that all turned out to be perfectly simple and great tasting. We also had world famous Magnine spaghetti and meatballs as well as good ole standby breakfast quiche. To make things easier, we were loaned the most awesome Fissler Vitaquick pressure skillet from our good friends. We found that to be invaluable in quick preparation of meals and side dishes. It dropped the cooking time in half and the utilization of propane on the boat much less. we provisioned for snacks and of course libations. Mike and I did succumb to box wine testing before our travels. we decided ahead of time that taking several bottles of wine aboard might be weighty as well as cumbersome. We found that the Black Box brand to have the fullest and best tastes for our palette. Another consideration was for fresh drinking water. Needless to say, that is essential for morning coffee and staying hydrated while cruising.
We thought we might have time during the trip to enjoy a few Bahamian restaurants along the way, but I couldn’t rely on that so I figured a few extra meals (just in case). I had also added ingredients and supplies to fry fish, grill fish, and even have sushi. Fingers crossed that we ate more of that than anything else!!! So, I spent hours adding and subtracting to the shopping and home preparation lists. Most of our shopping was done on our earlier trip in March, but for some of the freshest provisions we had to procure the last days ashore.
I may have mentioned in previous posts that we spent the better part of the last three days in Stuart before crossing the Gulf Stream, provisioning not only food but other supplies that we would need in the event of equipment failure (extra beer and tonic to mix with the spirits aboard..) We had rented a car for just over 24 hours to complete the task.We did some exploring as well, to distract ourselves from the delay. We actually headed out to the ocean to see what the waves looked like. This confirmed our plan to wait for easterly winds.
One morning on our way to Jensen Beach, we surreptitiously passed the most beautiful early-morning farmers market. We bought beautiful fresh peaches, tomatoes, eggplant, sweet onions, and deciding we needed more flavor, a basil plant (which we kept on board the entire trip and managed to return with back to the states!)
By this time, we suspected we had enough food should we get stranded in the Bahamas and be unable to return somehow…..wishful thinking. Upon our return to the boat, it was actually the storage of said provisions that was challenging. We clearly had to figure out how to store the fresh fruit and vegetables, as refrigerator space was limited. The answer of course prompted another brief trip to Home Goods for baskets.
I wasn’t the only one provisioning, as the experienced fisherman, Mike was readying himself for a vacation near water, and he made sure that our equipment list included most everything for catching fish. Considering that his life experience was freshwater fishing, Mike spent long winter days and evenings reading about and watching the Youtube videos on catching and spearing saltwater fish. He procured the best spearfishing gun (KOAH) along with fishing reels appropriate for the saltwater. He even designed and constructed his own fish cleaning table that would sit at the stern for filleting fish. We were not going hungry!
Day 4, Powell Cay anchorage…….. the decision is made to find a reef to spearfish. The dinghy is launched, spearfishing and snorkeling equipment are ready and we are off across the bay and narrow passage to the ocean side of the island. I get assigned dinghy driver as the guys fished. I monitor the progress, up for air, gestures, dive,fins in the air…. down for the fish, up with laughs and more gestures…….As the story goes……Spotting a hogfish Mike took a breath, following the fish, and then careful aim… a shot and was surprised that the fish swam away. He was sure he made a hit, right in the “head”. Quickly to the surface for a breath and he was back to collect his weapon, only to see that the safety tip was floating to the surface above the spear….rookie mistake. Mike -0, Fish -1 , leaving with his life and a headache.
Making a comeback the next day, the fishermen were very successful mid Gulf Stream in bringing in a few Mahi. We did enjoy a wonderful meal of sushi and fried Mahi that night!
We made other great meals on board. Everyone shared in the cooking activities, which also promotes the sense of “family” on board. We would all agree that our favorite days were when we made fresh bread. It must be the caribbean heat and humidity that seems to create the best bread. We found that fresh baked bread with a bit of wine and cheese at captain’s hour and of course the perfect sunset….is priceless.
I have to say that growing up camping has made me a better sailor. I have a fairly good sense of managing in close quarters (or over an open fire) as well as cooking in the outdoors.( I am just thankful that I am not waking up on a soggy tent floor.) Cooking on a boat is very much like camp cooking, without the camp fire (of course, I hope)….you learn to prepare food simply, enjoy the friends that have joined you, and share in the great travel experience.